Saturday, 5 April 2014

Recent Rediscoveries

Frankie Knuckles - no. 12

While it is of course very important to stay trendy and hip by keeping up with recent releases, it's also a shame to let great tracks fall by the wayside. So because I have been neglecting my blog so much recently, I've not only posted yesterday about my favourite new releases, but also put together a list of some older songs that have taken me through the last few months.

1) Osunlade - 'Human Beings' (Atjazz Remix)

Osunlade, the man at the helm of the dynamic Yoruba Records, released his seventh studio album last year under the compelling (though perhaps not so snappy) title, 'A Man With No Past Originating The Future'. The LP weaves in and out of diverse soundscapes, opening with ambient meditation, 'The Realm Of Difference', and moving through lilting, orchestral influenced 'Goddess', the more upbeat, tribal-sounding 'Satellite Beneath The Stars' and, one of my favourites, the instrumental jazz fusion 'Eclipse'. The result is spiritual, global and rounded and you can watch the visuals to all of these and more free on YouTube. However, it is 'Human Beings' that was chosen as the basis of a remix EP released this January. Alongside adaptations by Isolée and Luke Solomon (co-founder of Classic Records), the 12" features a rework by the UK's very own Martin Iveson, producer and owner of Atjazz Record Company. With a slightly heavier groove and warm synth chords, the track lends a polished lounge feel to the original.

2) Archie Pelago - 'Avocado Roller'

This isn't the first time Archie Pelago's appeared on the blog, and it won't be the last. The trio of genii hail from Brooklyn, but the energy and drive of their music is universal. Incapable of being boring, the only thing you'll know you're going to get when they start playing is creative passion and raw talent. 'Avocado Roller' was part of last year's kaleidoscopic Sly Gazabo EP, which you should (no, HAVE TO) listen to here.

3) Bishop Nehru - 'Elder Blossoms'

'Elder Blossoms' sees hip-hop heavyweight MF DOOM providing characteristically nostalgic production for the rhymes of up-and-coming Bishop Nehru. The track's rolling instrumental follows the example of Busta Rhymes and Faith Evans, a sample from Galt MacDermot's 'Space' providing the smooth backdrop for Nehru's self-reflective Bildungsroman. 

4) Theo Parrish - 'Summertime Is Here'

Theo Parrish, raised amidst the legendary Chicago house scene and heavily influenced by jazz legends such as Miles Davis, Nina Simone and his own uncle Dexter Sims, has resurfaced recently with the release of 'Flowers', a soulful collaboration with singer/songwriter Andrew Ashong. However, he began producing records when he was just 13 years old and he released his first LP over 15 years ago. 'Summertime Is Here' is the title track of one of his earliest EPs, released in 1999 and sampled to this day.

5) Kimbra - 'Settle Down' (Diggs Duke Remix)

'Settle Down' is the most popular song off the debut studio album by Kimbra, Triple J favourite and sweetheart of the Australian charts. Diggs Duke, on the other hand, is a lesser-known singer, songwriter and multi-instrumental jazz musician from across the pond. While better known for his original compositions, his remixes also showcase an ear for infectious beats and richly layered harmonies.

6) Sonnymoon - 'Nothing Thought'

Woozy melodies and detached, throwaway guitar flutters allow this Bostonian pair to reject emotional intensity in favour of an atmosphere of perfectly unpretentious meditation. However, far from inspiring apathy in the listener, I found myself enamoured with their music's unhurried poise and beautiful lyrics:

I was born with nothing
And nothing, I'll go
Soul split particle
Disperse and flow

7) Suff Daddy - 'Pattern Select/Giscar Sob'

Taken off his 2012 LP Suff SellsSuff Daddy welcomes you with these self-ironising visuals into his world of 'Dope beats, sick samples and twisted Mini-Korg licks, fuelled with weed and Pilsetten.' Hip-hop fans with a taste for clever sampling from the likes of QuasimotoGuts (get this on those summer playlists) or even J Dilla are likely to enjoy the cool, old school style of Suff Daddy. Last year also saw him collaborating with much-loved Japanese DJ Ta-ku on Bricks & Mortar, which you can check out here.

8) Qadafee - 'Sh1ft'

If the awesome artwork doesn't make you want to press play, the name will. Having collaborated with brilliant artists such as Volor Flex (blogged about here) and Elo Method, Qadafee delivers celestial future garage with the sophistication and luster of artists such as Phaeleh or Synkro.

9) Crazy Baldheads - 'First Born' (Champagne Breakfast Mix) 

As the video I've embedded helpfully clarifies, this one is an 'old skool garage nutter'. It was first released as part of a 12" in 1998, featuring the original and two remixes, but we have Kieran Hebden of Four Tet to thank for its revival. Having featured it on his Fabriclive CD, he has also rereleased through his own label, Text Records, writing in the press release how much he loved the 'wicked shuffling beat with amazing chopped samples flying in and out all over the place.'

10) St Etienne - 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart' (Masters At Work Dub)

Never mind about Route 94, THIS is what it's all about. This remix is a 1991 house classic so organic that you can hear the vinyl jumping. A prime example of the early magic of Warner Bros Records

11) Mala - 'Calle F'

Mala's 2012 album Mala In Cuba was without a doubt the most substantial release of his career, the British artist taking a step back from the shorter 12" and travelling not only out of his comfort zone, but also his country. The man was already a colossal figure in the industry, not only running Deep Medi Musik but also co-founding DMZ alongside Coki as part of Digital Mystikz, one of the most powerful pairs in dubstep. 'Calle F' sees Cuban beats and brass flourishes refined, reverbed and Mala-fied for a track more composed and indulgent than something you'd expect from his club-oriented EPs.

12) Frankie Knuckles - 'Tears'

This one goes out to 'The Godfather Of House', Frankie Knuckles, who was found dead at his home on March 31st. The past few days have seen a huge outpouring of grief and numerous tributes from all over the world, proof of the scope of his influence and appreciation. 

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